with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment
Ghana Country Visit

Ghana Country Visit

Read the Special Rapporteur’s FOLLOW-UP REPORT ON GHANA here!

On October 4, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E Mendez began his follow-up visit to Ghana with a Civil Society Roundtable event in Accra. The event was attended by representatives and advocates from more than 20 local organizations working on criminal justice reform, disability rights, and mental health issues. The visit will continue with meetings with high-level Government officials and visits to places of detention. The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference to present his preliminary findings at 3 PM local time in Accra on Wednesday, October 7, at the FAO Regional Office for Africa conference room (Block C) (adjacent the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park, Ridge). 

SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON TORTURE TO FOLLOW UP ON RECOMMENDATIONS IN KEY CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND MENTAL HEALTH AREAS DURING 2015 VISIT 

The Special Rapporteur on Torture will conduct a follow-up visit to Ghana from October 4th to 7th to assess the implementation of the recommendations he issued after his initial visit in November 2013 (to read the 2013 report and recommendations please click here.) On his follow-up visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with key Government authorities and host a civil society roundtable to assess some of the critical issues in the criminal justice system, including conditions of detention and mental health-care practices, and the treatment and living conditions of persons held in psychiatric hospitals and prayer camps. The Special Rapporteur is hopeful that his second visit will assist the Ghanaian Government to address the remaining challenges it faces in the fight against torture. 

Background on 2013 Ghana Country Visit

The Special Rapporteur concluded his first visit to Ghana on November 14, 2013, by issuing preliminary observations and recommendations during a press conference in Accra. In his first mission to sub-Saharan Africa, the Special Rapporteur spent a week visiting the Greater Accra, Central and Ashanti regions. During the visit, the UN independent expert sought to assess the situation on the ground and identify challenges concerning the use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in Ghana by visiting places of detention and meeting with domestic authorities, civil society partners, international organizations, and victims and their families to address various aspects of his mandate, including domestic legislation on torture and ill-treatment and the potential establishment of a national preventive mechanism.

In a press release following the visit, The Special Rapporteur expressed deep concern about the situation of overcrowding and conditions in prisons, which amount to human rights violations and constitute forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.  He also found conditions in police stations, holding cells, and prayer centers across several regions to be be poor. The Special Rapporteur also found a lack of adequate medical care in all places of detention visited, including extremely poor standard of equipment, absence of qualified doctors, an apparent lack of medicine and limited medical screenings. The independent expert also urged the Government to ratify and implement the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) as a matter of national urgency. While he did not receive complaints of mistreatment by prison staff, he noted that inter-prisoner violence remains a concern in some places of detention. The Special Rapporteur also expressed concern about the situation in psychiatric Hospitals in Accra and Ankaful, noting the lack of resources, the insufficient training and limited medication, and the fact that only 12 psychiatrists operate in Ghana, covering a population of over 25 million people.

The Special Rapporteur presented the final report on his visit to Ghana to the Human Rights Council in March 2014.

The Special Rapporteur delivered preliminary comments and recommendations during a press conference in Accra at the end of his visit.

The Special Rapporteur and his team during the visit to Ghana.

 

Latest News on Ghana Follow-up!

Ghana: Much remains to be done but UN Special Rapporteur welcomes steps taken to combat torture and other ill-treatment

Ghana: Much remains to be done but UN Special Rapporteur welcomes steps taken to combat torture and other ill-treatment

October 7, 2015 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez concluded his follow-up visit to Ghana, which was undertaken with the support of the Anti-Torture initiative. During the visit, the Special Rapporteur and his team met with high-level government officials, visited places of deprivation of liberty, including prisons, a psychiatric hospital, and a prayer camp, and hosted in a roundtable with civil society in Accra. “I welcome the steps taken by the Government of Ghana in its fight against torture and other ill-treatment in the country, but much remains to be done,” the Special Rapporteur stated at the end of the visit, urging the government to set-up its effort to implement the recommendations issued after his first mission to the country in November 2013. The Special Rapporteur expressed particular concern about reports of incidence of torture and ill-treatment that occur during arrest and interrogation by police, severe overcrowding and substandard conditions of detention, and the treatment of persons with mental disabilities, including shackling, in prayer camps. The Special Rapporteur will present his findings and recommendations in a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council March 2016. To read the end-of-visit press statement in full, please visit the OHCHR website

Special Rapporteur on Torture to Conduct Follow-Up Visit to Ghana

Special Rapporteur on Torture to Conduct Follow-Up Visit to Ghana

29 September 2015- Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez will conduct a follow-up visit to Ghana from 4 to 7 October to assess the implementation of the recommendations he issued after his initial visit in November 2013. The Special Rapporteur “will focus on the challenges [he] encountered in Ghana, such as critical issues in the criminal justice system, including conditions of detention and mental health-care practices, including the treatment and living conditions of persons held in psychiatric hospitals and prayer camps.” During his visit, the Special Rapporteur will engage with key Government authorities and civil society leaders and he “look[s] forward to assisting the authorities to further implement [his] recommendations, uphold the rule of law, promote accountability, and fulfill the right of victims to reparations.” The Special Rapporteur is hopeful that his second visit will assist the Ghanaian Government to address the remaining challenges it faces in the fight against torture.

To read the full press release, please click here